Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Death Of Net Neutrality ?

It's a serious victory for old media as Comcast get a ruling in the federal appeals court against the FCC allowing them to block certain services.

The impact of this cannot be underestimated. Most of today's leading web companies have built their services based on the principle of net neutrality. However, if ISPs begin to discriminate against certain service providers this falls by the wayside and the economics of the web are changed.

It especially has implications for organisations such as Google and the BBC who get a free ride for the last mile into people's homes, much to the chagrin of the ISPs who have to invest ever more money to ensure that their every higher bandwidth demands are met.

So, it seems that we are about to enter the era of traffic mapping, where certain services are prioritised. The reality is that many ISPs have already been prioritising traffic. The net is rife with theories that traffic to the X-Box is prioritised over other users' traffic on services such as TalkTalk (I have n firm proof of this). However, it is very clear from my own experience that services such as TalkTalk do throttle video traffic on a regular basis.

Internet purists will be up in arms, Google will be holding midnight meetings and looking to roll out its WiMax plans for delivery over the last mile and video services will be fretting. What interesting times we live in.